Gaming mice: we test the best
Roccat Kone XTD
If there’s such a thing as too much customization, the Roccat Kone XTD may have achieved it. The interface is crammed with data and adjustments—enough to satisfy the pickiest gaming pro and to intimidate any novice.
It’s an excellent mouse. The right-hand-fitting shape is outstanding, complete with a finish that, while plastic and hard, somehow feels soft and silky to the touch, and invites a sure-handed grip. The controls and buttons include two thumb buttons, a left/right tilting scroll wheel, and dpi adjustment buttons.
This Roccat is also a nifty conversation piece: A pair of colorful, LED-fed ribbons of light run down either side of the mouse from front to back. You can set the base color in each of the four corners of the body. The coloring pulsates according to settings in the software interface. It’s a very cool effect that people notice.
The Kone XTD is very responsive—and like the Logitech G500s, it comes with weights that let you manage the overall feel of the mouse’s action. Complementing the 8200-dpi sensor is onboard memory for storing customized profiles. If you spring for the Roccat Isku FX keyboard ($110), the two peripherals will communicate each other in a feature called Talk, and you can use them together for complex macros, though that seems like overkill for a mouse.
Overall, the Kone XTD is an outstanding mouse that leaving very little to complain about. It would nose out the Logitech G500s for the coveted title of top mouse if it weren’t significantly more expensive.
- Best-feeling mouse of the bunch
- Customization options are nigh on overwhelming
- So much customization, in fact, that for novice users it is overwhelming
- Requires Roccat keyboard for its fullest functionality
A pile of customization, and communication with Roccat keyboards, set this incredible, ergonomic mouse apart from its competition in this roundup.
Rating: 4.5 stars
SteelSeries makes some great mice, but the Sensei isn’t one of them, due to an odd mix of inadequacies and overkill.
A unique feature of the Sensei among the mice in this roundup is the LCD menu located on the mouse’s underside. That menu lets you customize the mouse locally, without turning to the PC-based control interface. You can even add your own banner to the LCD—via the control interface, though (because the LCD is underneath the mouse) no one will see it. The software interface lets you customize the mouse’s color LEDs independently, but otherwise it doesn’t offer much in the way of personality.
The Sensei gives you only two dpi-on-the-fly settings (which it refers to as CPI): one up to 5700, and the other between 5701 and a whopping 11,400. It’s unlikely that anyone could control such a sensitive mouse, much less find any use for doing so.
The SteelSeries Sensei is one smart mouse. Armed with a 32-bit ARM processor, it can record ridiculously long macros—but you’re unlikely to play any game that needs them. Macros of the length supported here are suitable for fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter X Tekken; but in almost every case, such games work better with gamepads than with mice. We can almost see using lengthy macros in a massively multiplayer online game, but if you’re that into MMOs, you might as well choose something like the SteelSeries World of Warcraft MMO mouse.
Then there’s the issue of comfort. The Sensei isn’t textured, and it’s too low-slung to suit players who use their full palm on the mouse surface. Fingertip mousers might be able to forgive its design, and it’s one of the few ambidextrous gaming mice around; but compared to the other mice in the roundup, the Sensei comes up short—literally.
- Among the most intelligent mice around
- Very powerful customization options
- Not comfortable enough for long, or even short, play sessions
- Its coolest feature, a customizable LCD banner, is on the bottom of the mouse
The Sensei has a nice design and is very customizable, but it's too small to be comfortable for extended play.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Gaming mice: we test the best